A Travellerspoint blog

I've let the blog run dry/how to know you're on exchange....

sunny 90 °F

I promise that I had every intention to post frequently on this blog and while I've managed to post updates, sometimes I feel like there isn't much to write about so I avoid making a post. I usually like to wait until something major happens because a lot of the other time, I've been chilling at home, leaving and doing things with my friends, or sleeping, hahah.

I've made this point to my friends and family several times during my exchange: I feel like I've been on summer vacation since May 2015.
This doesn't mean my exchange hasn't been fun, this doesn't mean that I didn't go to school, or whatever you maybe thinking.

This means that I've over-embraced the relaxed life and I'm ready to return to my busy, go-go-go work/school lifestyle back home in Ohio. I don't really have any desire to GO home right now, but I'm ready to make my days busy and worthwhile. I want to be able to go back home and present on my exchange and have a never-ending list of activities and memories to share with everyone.

I'm going to do a really abrupt 180 right now.

Spinny Noise, does backflip*

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How to know you're an exchange student...

1. BEFORE WAITING TO SEE IF ANYONE UNDERSTOOD WHAT YOU SAID, YOU START ACTING IT OUT.
This point kind of speaks for itself, but let me elaborate for the readers who won't get this.
The best example I can give you is when you're trying to speak to someone who may or may not speak English (for example) and to make sure they understand, you start making all kind of body jerks and weird hand-movements. I feel this is something I did especially in the beginning of my exchange but I'm a hand-talker anyway so I probably still do it.
2. YOU SPEND A LOT OF TIME SMILING AND NODDING AND PRETENDING YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON.
Until you unintentionally admit to doing something you haven't done even though you didn't understand the question.
3. YOU CLASSIFY DOING YOUR HOMEWORK AS TRANSLATING 1/2 OF IT.
Whenever I took a test in my host school, because I didn't know the answers, I would translate the questions and write all over the paper to look like I answered and would be graded on that.
4. YOU SOMETIMES USE THE EXCUSE "SORRY I DON'T UNDERSTAND" TO AVOID ANSWERING A QUESTION... EVEN IF YOU DO.
Sometimes you get tired of answering questions or get annoyed by the stereotypical questions that people ask about you and your country. Sometimes, we just need a break from talking, ya feel?
5. THEY OFFER COCKTAILS AT ALL THE SCHOOL FUNCTIONS.
This really threw me off because in the USA you have to be 21 years old to drink and I never ever saw alcohol supplied/offered at an Open House or Curriculum Night but here, it seemed like for the majority of the school functions, there was some kind of cocktail party for the adults.
6. YOU'RE BETTER THAN YOUR TEACHER IN YOUR FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASS.
My English teacher at my host school was amazing but several times, we would have discussions on English grammar or word pronunciation and a lot of the time it came down to the difference between British and American English.
7. YOU'VE "MISPRONOUNCED" SOMETHING IN YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE BECAUSE YOU KNOW THE OTHERS WILL UNDERSTAND IF YOU SAY IT WITH AN ACCENT.
Example: McDonalds (America= Mick-donalds, Peru= Mack-dah-nal), Starbucks (America= Star-bucks, Peru= Es-tar-buh)
8. YOU TALK TO SOMEONE IN YOUR HOST LANGUAGE ONLY TO HAVE THEM RESPOND TO YOU IN ENGLISH.
This happens all the time and very annoying because "Cool, you want to practice your English, but I'm here to learn Spanish and it would be easier for the both of us to just stick with YOUR native language."
9. AFTER COMING BACK FROM EXCHANGE, EVERYONE TELLS YOU THAT YOU HAVE A WEIRD ACCENT.
I've adopted a few of the Peruvian mannerisms and I'm interested to see what happens when I get back to school in August.
10. YOU FORGET WORDS IN YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE.
Happens all the time. I forgot the word for hair the other day. Ended up calling it my head sweater.
11. YOU BEGIN TO ENJOY FOODS YOU DESPISED AT HOME AND VICE VERSA.
I used to really like potatoes in the US, but after eating 4752034857 types of them in Peru, I can't look at one without feeling like a literal human potato. However, I turned into a coffee drinker in Peru and I never used to TOUCH the coffee machine back home.
12. YOU ARE NEVER SURE IF SOMEONE'S BEING YOUR FRIEND OR FLIRTING WITH YOU.
This is just because of the difference in social cues and body language that come with the Peruvian culture. Peruvians are more "affectionate" as it is (for example, when greeting someone you either kiss into their ear [for girls] or shake their hand [for boy to boy]) so when someone is leaning into you, you never know if its because that's just who they are or they're trying to get your digits.
13. YOU DO SOMETHING WRONG AND PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU WEIRD AND YOUR EXCUSE IS "THATS HOW THEY DO IT IN MY COUNTRY" EVEN IF IT ISN'T.
This is happened a COUNTLESS amount of times to me that I can't even pinpoint one specific situation to write.

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I'll be traveling to the Amazon from March 3-6 and hope to be able to write a lot about the amazing experiences I will have had there.

I start school short after that!

After almost being here for 6 wonderful and crazy months!
Alexandra

Posted by alexandrang98 10:28 Archived in Peru

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